Australian police seize record-breaking $820 milllion methamphetamine haul

Drugs seized by Australian authorities Wednesday, December 4 are seen in this handout photograph.

(CNN)Authorities in Australia have seized a record-breaking haul of methamphetamine worth $820 million, hidden inside stereo speakers shipped from Thailand, the country's federal police and border force announced.

The massive bust fetched 1.596 metric tons (1.75 US tons) of meth -- the largest haul on record in the country -- worth almost 1.2 billion Australian dollars ($820 million). A further 37 kilograms (37.4 pounds) of heroin worth 18.5 million Australian dollars ($12.6 million) was also seized. The drugs were found concealed inside the speakers at several locations across Melbourne.
The two agencies alleged in a joint press release that the drugs were imported by two men and a woman, all in their late 30s. Two of the suspects were described by Australian Federal Police (AFP) Deputy Commissioner Neil Gaughan as "trusted insiders" in the customs industry.
A spokeswoman for the AFP said the duo were not employed by the government.
If convicted, the three suspects could face life in prison, authorities said.
Australian authorities began investigating after they detected a huge amount of vacuum-sealed drugs at a customs checkpoint in Melbourne in April, 2019. After an extensive investigation, authorities conducted several searches Wednesday, during which they seized the massive haul of drugs.
"This joint operation has identified and removed serious vulnerabilities from the Melbourne waterfront," Gaughan said.
The drugs were hidden in speakers shipped from Thailand, police said.

A lucrative market

Australian authorities have conducted a series of high-profile drug busts in recent years, seizing billions of Australian dollars worth of illicit substances hidden in everything